Архив за етикет: Kristalina Georgieva

The power of social media – we can help people

Nowadays nobody can deny the power of social media. Thanks to them people are in power when talking about social movements, advertising and delivering all kinds of information. We do have among all others a well informed and involved audience that can make a difference by reaching and developing new points of view.

Last month when visiting Brussels as participant in the European Youth Media Days I conducted an interview with Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response who made the impression of a really straightforward and intelligent person. We talked about variety of topics including nowadays euroscepticism and the importance of social media.

Social media are getting more and more important, agreed Georgieva. What they bring is more democracy in information and more inclusiveness – people don’t have to be physically in a place to have their voice heard, explained the Commissioner.

And it also stimulates initiative – if you believe in a cause you can drive change by raising awareness of this cause and bringing like-minded to support you, emphasized Georgieva.

She also underlined another positive feature of social media. In her opinion social media can help policy makers to have a more open horizon, see parts of the world that might not otherwise be seen and allow a much faster feedback on ideas then before.

Social media certainly are offering a new avenue for politicians to be accountable for what they do and to inform the public in a very accessible and non-bureaucratic manner, said Georgieva. The Commissioner gave an example with Twitter where the microblog with only 140 characters imposes discipline that in traditional journalism and policy communication doesn’t exist.

Moreover, social media have proven to be very useful when gathering people and informing about natural disasters. A recent example in Twitter is the news about the typhoon that hit the Philippines; the donations and the voluntary work there. Twitter once again became not only a source of information but also of involvement. Furthermore, using another online platform – OpenStreetMap, a collaboratively created map of the world like Wikipedia, more than 700 volunteers have collaborated to provide rescue workers with updated maps to reflect damage from the storm, the Guardian reported.

In my line of work new technology is incredibly important because we can use Twitter to award population at risk. We also use SMS to target those who are in a particular area of danger if a natural disaster is approaching – for example flood or hurricane. That is already proving to be a very effective way of signaling, said Commissioner Georgieva.  In her opinion thanks to the social media we get not only information but a new way of doing business as well as humanitarian and rescue operations.


Euroscepticism or More Europe?

Europe has problems – weakened economy and huge unemployment, which became factors for increased euroscepticism in member states. People believe that the EU has failed, surveys show. However, according to EU officials, euroscepticism is an expected occurrence at the moment and the EU will grow stronger.

Taking in consideration the surge of euroscepticism and nationalism should we talk more about Europe or just wait for Europe to go back to growth? Do we have more Europe now? This were the questions I asked Kristalina GeorgievaEuropean Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response in Brussels.

There is more Europe today, is the opinion of GeorgievaShe believes the crisis has forced us to significantly deepen economic integration. „We now have economic governance in Europe that was unthinkable before the crisis with countries bringing their budget proposes before they are adopted“, emphasized Georgieva, part of the EU Commission.

„We have more Europe also in a sheer quantitative term because now we have a new member state – Croatia. And we are continuing to discuss enlargement of Europe despite the fact that it has been a very difficult time and indeed many people in Europe are anxious for their future and less committed or expressing commitment for Europe“, said commissioner Georgieva.

We are coming out of this crisis stronger, believes Georgieva. In her opinion Europe exits the crisis with a more competitive economy.

The latest data of Eurostat show that in August 2013 industrial production grew by 1% in the euro area and by 0,5% in the EU. The volume of retail trade increased by 0,7% in the monetary union and by 0,4% in the EU. Furthermore, in the second quarter of this year the euro zone returned back to growth.

„Services of public opinion in countries tell us that people are more confident in the future of Europe“, said also Kristalina Georgieva.

In the past years unemployment has become a huge problem in a lot of European countries. The number of employed decreased in the euro area in the first quarter of 2013, official statistic shows. In August 2013, the euro zone (EA17) unemployment rate was 12%, stable compared to July. At the same time the EU28 unemployment rate stood at 10.9%, also stable compared to the previous month. However, in the euro zone and in the EU as a whole, unemployment rates have risen on a year-over-year basis, 11.5% and 10.6% respectively, according to figures by Eurostat.

„But is has been a long crisis and it has affected disproportionally countries and social groups within countries“, agreed Kristalina Georgieva. „We have seen tremendous surge of unemployment, unemployed youth and also structural unemployment. We have seen in Europe a very sad increase of poverty during the years of crisis“, she said.

Ivailo Kalfin, member of the European Parliament from the Group of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), expressed the opinion that euroscepticism is common not only in the rich European countries but also in those with less competitive economies including Bulgaria. In an interview in Brussels he said that maybe after the elections for European Parliament in May 2014 we will see more eurosceptic parties in the Parliament but there won’t be a huge difference in comparison with before.

„I don’t think that the eurosceptics will overtake the Parliament“, said Kalfin. In his opinion euroscepticism among political parties is a short-term policy that lacks argumentation and basically relies on emotions.

Source: Storify.com/Barzilska. First published on 17th of October 2013 in Storify.com, produced when taking part in a Youth Media Days workshop.